Even with good pollution control technology and practice, there can be a risk of off-site impacts from infrastructure and industrial premises. These specific land uses are singled out as having greater potential risk of harm to human health and the environment. The responsible authority should consider if these applications warrant notification, under s.52 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (P&E Act) to EPA. However, the information contained in this page should enable council and the applicant to address the majority of risks without the need for referral to EPA.

Incompatible land uses

Occasionally land uses close to one another are incompatible due to the risk of harm to human health and the environment from pollution. In these circumstances it’s necessary to specify a separation distance between the two incompatible land uses. This includes when industry and sensitive land uses are established close together.

Separation distances, or buffers, are a tool to decide whether the siting of a proposed land use or development is suitable in relation to surrounding land uses.

Refer to Recommended separation distances for industrial residual air emissions (Publication 1518) for further information about separation distances as a result of industrial air/odour emissions- this guideline provides advice on varying nominated separation distances. It states that EPA should be consulted if a separation distance is to be reduced. As part of this assessment EPA will consider the specific risks from the site, the mitigation measures in place and any other design features that would result in a reduced risk.

Separation distances are also appropriate for other risks including noise.

Developments near landfills

Landfills are an important part of Victoria’s waste management infrastructure. Operating landfills can discharge landfill gas, offensive odour, noise, litter and dust. Closed landfills can continue to discharge landfill gas for more than 30 years after they’ve stopped operating.

Landfill buffers play an important role in managing these risks. Refer to Assessing planning proposals within the buffer of a landfill (Publication 1642) for further information.

Broiler farms

Broiler farms and other intensive animal industries can impact nearby residents with odour, dust and noise. Although the majority of community concerns and complaints relate to odour, there are a variety of pollution risks associated with broiler farms.

For applications to use or develop land to establish a new Special class broiler farm, or where a new farm will form a cluster of broiler farms, notice must be provided to EPA in accordance with the P&E Act.

Composting facilities

Although composting green waste is an important part of Victoria’s waste management strategy, it does have environmental impacts. The effects of commercial composting include off-site odour emissions and impacts to air, land and groundwater. Litter, dust, spread of disease, vermin, fire management and transfer of contaminated stormwater across property boundaries are also common concerns.

This means that planning for composting facilities needs to include active risk reduction, including appropriate separation distances between composting facilities and sensitive land uses.

Refer to Designing, constructing and operating composting facilities (Publication 1588) for further information.

Concrete batching plants

Concrete batching facilities need to be close to construction activities because concrete is a perishable product. However, locating these facilities in areas near residential or commercial uses can result in the facility’s emissions polluting the surrounding environment. In addition, dust, noise, polluted wastewater and leaks or spills from chemical storage and waste management are potential risks.

Read more about reducing concrete batching risks.

Food and beverage

Food and beverage production can pose a range of potential risks to the environment, human health and amenity.

Odour is the most reported pollution type associated with food and beverage production. Other environmental risks include food waste, leaks and spills to stormwater and sewerage, smoke and other air emissions.

Best practice design and operation of facilities can minimise many of the potential impacts.

Service stations

In addition to transferring, storing and dispensing fuel, many service stations now handle and sell food and drink. Some also include extra services such as car wash and mechanics. All these services have the potential to cause risks such as:

  • odour
  • noise
  • contaminated stormwater/wastewater
  • litter
  • underground fuel storage and waste management.

Contamination from former service station sites is also a common issue. This is usually caused by leaking underground petrol storage tanks. Most former sites will need an environmental audit before they can be redeveloped.

Best practice design and operation of service stations can minimise many environmental risks. EPA seeks to ensure they’re sited correctly in planning referrals sent to us.

We also provide resources to help operators manage their risks. Our website provides information on how to manage underground petroleum storage systems at service stations

Shooting ranges

Various contaminants are common at shooting ranges but lead usually has the greatest potential to harm human health and the environment. EPA has developed material to help operators manage the risks from shooting ranges. Our website contains information about managing contamination at shooting ranges, plus a specific downloadable guide.

Planners should also review Planning guidance: Managing the risk of contamination at shooting ranges (Publication 1755).

Read next

Environmental planning

Strategic planning

Statutory planning

Land use planning

Reviewed 10 December 2021